Catholic Relief Services, with funding from the US Department of Labor, and in partnership with AVSI Haiti is embarking on a new project aimed to reduce and prevent child labor in agriculture in Haiti.
Many children in Haiti are engaged in child labor, including domestic work and agriculture. Because some parents are unable to care for their children, they send them to either orphanages or to live with relatives or strangers, who are expected to provide food, shelter and schooling to the children in exchange for housework. In some instances, these expectations are met, but many times they are not.
Often, these children become domestic workers and are victims of labor exploitation and abuse. Some children are trafficked both internally and to the Dominican Republic. Others are illegally recruited and fall into forced labor, which could include working in a home, in the fields, or on the streets.
Another challenge is posed by the is a lack of identification documentation. Many Haitian children's births are not registered, and different natural disasters, like the 2010 earthquake, cause the loss of many identification papers. This lack of personal identification papers makes it more difficult to protect children against Labor Code or Criminal Code violations, and for children to access social assistance services and educational programs from the Government.
Out-of-school children are at increased risk of engaging in child labor or of becoming victims of human trafficking.
The Haitian Government adopted the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Law, which criminalizes all forms of human trafficking and contains provisions to prevent child trafficking and certain other forms of harmful child labor.
Haiti also created the Child Protection Working Group to coordinate efforts on child protection, specifically for children in domestic work. Moreover, Haiti ratified UN CRC Optional Protocols on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, and Children in Armed Conflict.
These efforts are an important step in responding to the number of children who fall into child labor. AVSI, among other organizations such as CRS, Haïti survi, CLES, JURI MEDIA, works to identify sustainable strategies for families
and societies in order to further respond to child labor in Haiti.